Opening night of any show is exciting and scary even if you have had a few weeks or months to prepare. But what about doing a show where an audience doesn’t know what they are seeing, you don’t get to rehearse, you don’t get to meet the cast, or get to sing with a music director until showtime?!?!?!?! Crazy right! So crazy, but it actually works. I had the pleasure of working with the Confidential Musical Theatre Project on their last show which turned out to be Jekyll and Hyde.
From the moment I heard about this project last fall (and saw the first show) I was immediatly drawn to it and without knowing the duo in charge I basically threw myself to them saying “I want in.” I’m so glad Marion Abbott Piccin and Robert Corbett included me in this show. From the first email response (even though I had never met them) it seemed like we have been friends for a long time. The passion these two hold for their project is like no other. You can tell they absolutely love what they do and that transfers onto the performers involved and to the audience watching.
The biggest fear with a show like this is wondering whether you have prepared enough. There is so much in the unknown that you really have to trust yourself as a singer and actor in your abilities and in your choices. This is the time where you really get to take risks and give everything you have because there are no second chances. No matter how much you practice you will never be fully ready for a night like this, but it is one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. I had only a few spots to make my character (Nellie) come to life. The audience embraced what I chose to do, and as an actor I cant tell you how great that feels, to know you make good choices.
The biggest challenge for me was that for the past month I have either been sick or my little one was sick. I actually didn’t have a voice until a few days before showtime. I was planning on rehearsing religiously for that month, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned. So for me there was a lot of relying on my ear listening to the music, and my sight reading abilities while listening, and trusting that my muscle memory would kick in once I got my voice back. (trusting, or praying, or freaking out, however you want to see it.. lol) Once showtime happened thought, it all came together. I actually proved to myself I could sing all of my harmonies and solos even by learning in this way which is unconventional for me. I’m used to physically singing to put in muscle memory, not usually just by watching and listening. So I have learned something new about myself during all of this, which is awesome.
From seeing previous shows, as an audience member, without sets without props without lighting you really get to focus on the words and music and it brings you to the root of the show without all the flashy spectacle. The other amazing thing is that the audience members are truly 100% with you. One of the coolest things is observing characters come to life in real time. And because we know its not rehearsed the little mishaps and missed notes, and kerfuffles that occur are all forgiven and make the experience unique and quite hysterical at moments.
I would encourage anyone to come and witness The Confidential Musical Theatre Project. The interest is so high, so many actors want to be involved which means there will be many more shows to come. So thank you again to Rob and Marion for choosing me to participate in this venture, and to all the new friends I have made during the very short run of the show… lol. We had a blast.
Me as Nellie!